The 15 Best Places to Retire in America
Not everyone can retire like TV’s “Golden Girls,” moving in with a group of sarcastic and sassy buddies in a warm-weather climate. For some, staying close to family and friends is the most affordable and comforting choice.
But if moving is an option, there are pros and cons for senior living in each U.S. city.
A recent analysis by personal finance website WalletHub compared the “retiree-friendliness” of more than 180 U.S. cities based on 46 factors and then gave each city an overall score out of 100 points.
The analysis examined factors affecting affordability, quality of life and health care.
To no one’s surprise, Florida cities scored high — but one of the nation’s most legendary cold-weather cities snagged the No. 12 spot, and another famously snowy zone landed at No. 14. Here’s a look at the top-ranked towns.
15. St. Petersburg, Florida
This metropolitan area’s total score: 54.55 out of 100 possible points
There’s a lot of Florida on this list. St. Pete boasts 361 days of sunshine per year and an average temperature of 74 degrees. And if you want to spend some of those days out on the water, the city reeled in a first-place tie with four other cities for most fishing facilities per capita.
This metropolitan area’s total score: 54.65 out of 100 possible points
Not all retirees are ready to retire from outdoor activities. For active seniors, there’s Denver, with its famous mountains, ready for skiing and climbing. And you might have many years to enjoy those sports, as Colorado recently turned up on a list of 11 states where retirees have the longest lifespans.
This metropolitan area’s total score: 55.03 out of 100 possible points
Busy Atlanta enjoys a mild Southern climate as well as all the perks of a major city. It ranked as No. 5 in WalletHub’s analysis when it came to examining a city’s activities options, which cover everything from bingo halls to art galleries. Only three cities – Washington, D.C., San Francisco and St. Louis — have more museums per capita.
This metropolitan area’s total score: 55.78 out of 100 possible points
Minneapolis has snowy winters, that’s a fact. But the lively City of Lakes has plenty to do in all weather, and scored No. 4 in WalletHub’s activity analysis. The Minneapolis region also is among the 15 U.S. metro areas building the most homes, which could mean more affordable homes for sale.
11. Casper, Wyoming
This metropolitan area’s total score: 55.95 out of 100 possible points
Uncrowded Casper is home to fewer than 60,000 people, so you won’t lack for room to roam or to stretch out. It’s budget-friendly, too — coming in at No. 5 in WalletHub’s affordability category.
10. Salt Lake City
This metropolitan area’s total score: 56.07 out of 100 possible points
Breathtaking Salt Lake City, Utah’s capital city, is famously home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and numerous colleges also call it home. There’s good news for homebuyers: Salt Lake City landed at No. 3 on a recent list of housing markets where sellers are dropping prices.
9. Tampa, Florida
This metropolitan area’s total score: 56.32 out of 100 possible points
Back to Florida again for Tampa, a neighboring city to St. Petersburg. Tampa is among 10 cities where home inventory is rising fast, with active home listings rising nearly 92% year over year in July. It’s also part of WalletHub’s five-city tie for most fishing facilities per capita.
8. Wilmington, Delaware
This metropolitan area’s total score: 56.62 out of 100 possible points
Wilmington is Delaware’s largest city, but don’t start picturing urban sprawl — just over 70,000 people live here. You may also find some tax relief here. Delaware recently made a WalletHub list of nine states with the lowest property tax rates.
7. Scottsdale, Arizona
This metropolitan area’s total score: 56.69 out of 100 possible points
You likely won’t be the only retiree on your block in Scottsdale. WalletHub found the city to be second on the list of cities with the highest percentage of residents who are 65 and older. It also landed at No. 4 for cities with mild weather. And property taxes are low, helping the city onto a SmartAsset list of the 10 best U.S. cities for an early retirement.
6. San Francisco
This metropolitan area’s total score: 56.81 out of 100 possible points
Longing to stay active in retirement? The City by the Bay was ranked No. 2 in the study for activities, only behind Washington, D.C. Let’s hope you saved up during your working years, however, as real estate site Redfin reports that the median home sale price here is $1.3 million.
5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
This metropolitan area’s total score: 57.21 out of 100 possible points
Fort Lauderdale was famously “Where the Boys Are” in the 1960 film with that name. But its beaches and sunshine attract folks who are well past spring break age. That sunshine can get hot — no wonder that the city is No. 1 on LawnStarter’s list of the best cities in which to own a swimming pool.
This metropolitan area’s total score: 57.37 out of 100 possible points
Miami combines the sunshine and mild weather of Florida with the lively activities of a big city. It’s not exactly inexpensive, but homebuying may not be out of reach: Miami recently showed up at No. 2 on RE/MAX’s National Housing Report listing five housing markets with the biggest decline in home sales.
This metropolitan area’s total score: 57.88 out of 100 possible points
Cincinnati might not be what you think of when you think of retirement havens. But the Ohio city scored high for activities, and it’s home to multiple major sports teams, such as football’s Bengals and baseball’s Reds. And since money is usually a concern in retirement, it’s good to know that Cincy made a recent Porch list of 15 cities where your dollar goes the furthest.
2. Orlando, Florida
This metropolitan area’s total score: 58.23 out of 100 possible points
Your grandchildren will constantly be clamoring to visit if you retire to Orlando, the home of numerous theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. The Orlando area also made the list of 15 cities building the most homes, meaning home prices should be going down.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
This metropolitan area’s total score: 58.97 out of 100 possible points
Surprised to see a non-Florida city topping the list? Charming Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in South Carolina, with a history that goes back to 1670. It scored high for both activities and affordability, and was one of the five cities tying for most fishing facilities per capita. Just keeping it reel.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.